Almost every unpublished or barely-published genre writer I know submits regularly to the Writers of the Future contest, an award limited to promising writers who lack “pro” publication credits. The funny thing about this is that non-writers are pretty much 100% unaware of the contest, and would be surprised to hear it’s considered so prestigious, or such a top-tier market for aspiring writers. I assume the award’s high standing is mostly due to the comparatively large monetary award (up to $1,000 for a quarterly win plus up to $5,000 more for an annual win), but even for less money-focused writers the award is considered something you’re expected to shoot for until you’ve had enough professional publication credits that you’re no longer eligible.
Though I respect the list of more established writers who have made their way up through the WOTF awards, and have been entering every quarter for a little over a year, I also realize that many of my own favorite writers never won, so I won’t be too heartbroken if it never happens for me.
Today I received notification that I received an “Honorable Mention” for my Q2 (this is actually the quarter ending March 30th) entry. All my previous entries had been outright rejections. Aside from the overall winner and 2nd and 3rd awards, WOTF gives “Finalist” and “Semi-Finalist” and “Honorable Mention” awards, so while I didn’t quite reach the highest tiers, this is still a nice bit of positive feedback. Just yesterday I submitted my Q3 story, so maybe after a handful of rejections, I’ll climb up from HM to SF to F to The Winnah!